Testing their metal
Blacksmithing conference begins today in Baddeck
After years of planning, Cape Breton blacksmiths are set to host their colleagues from around the globe.
CanIron X, Canada’s premier biennial blacksmithing conference, will take place at the Inverary Resort in Baddeck over the next four days. The event opens today and delegates are coming from across Canada and the United States, and as far away as Switzerland, Israel and Ireland.
Event organizer Grant Haverstock, owner of Firehouse Ironworks in Whycocomagh and president of the Cape Breton Blacksmiths Association, said he’s looking forward to meeting blacksmiths from around the world.
“We tried to assemble the best of the best so everybody can hopefully learn and expand their skillset,” he said, noting internationally renowned metal artist Albert Paley from New York is among the featured lecturers.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that I was able to sweet talk him
into coming to Cape Breton for his first time. He’ll be lecturing on design and his processes, basically how he goes from sketch to final product.”
But the four-day event isn’t just for blacksmiths, according to Haverstock. It’s also for people of all ages interested in the craft, with blacksmithing demonstrations, lectures and youth programs among the many activities that may appeal to the general public.
CanIron X will also include a vendors market, art gallery exhibit, a historic display on forges of Cape Breton, meals and music.
“Anybody that’s interested in art, this is a perfect venue for them,” he said. “If you’re curious about blacksmithing, or you want to try it, there will be lots of people around.”
Haverstock estimates there’s approximately 30 blacksmiths — mostly hobbyists — in Cape Breton, and this weekend they’ll be joined by hundreds of others to celebrate their craft. He said they expect 300- 500 people to attend the conference.
“The economic spinoff is huge,” said Haverstock “Most people that I’ve talked to are staying for two weeks, so that’s a huge boost to the economy.”
Tickets to CanIron X events will be available at the door during the event. Passes range from $100 for a single day pass to $ 300 for the full event pass.
For more information, go online to canironx.ca.